Why are we all screaming? Oh, right. Ice Cream!
Summer is in full swing, and I finally have some free time to spend in my beloved hometown Northeastern Pennsylvania. (NEPA Pride!) Summertime in PA means boat rides on Harvey’s Lake, baseball games with the Railriders, and, my personal favorite, trips to our local dairy for a scrumptious frozen treat!
The Lands at Hillside Farms is a 19th Century, 412 acre, non-profit educational dairy farm that happens to be a five minute drive from my childhood home. Hillside offers an array of seasonal country-grown goods like local honey, freshly baked breads and garden veggies. But my favorite is the ice cream! (Are we surprised?) No trip home is complete without an evening drive to Hillside and a scoop (or two!) of mint chip on a sugar cone.
During my recent trip home for 4th of July festivities, mom’s creative culinary juices really started to flow and she decided that, this year, the apple pie would be served with homemade ice cream! Thankfully, we live with a science chef, who suggested a field trip to the dairy farm in pursuit of helpful tips for the task at hand. (That, and she wanted some black raspberry.)
Thank goodness! In addition to enjoying a midday treat, we learned what could quite possibly be the #1 Tip for making sure your homemade ice cream is a dreamy dairy success. Drumroll, please…..
Holy Cow! The Milk Matters!
Did you know that different cows produce different kinds of milk? Well, they do and, turns out, there’s one type of milk that scientifically edges out all others when it comes to churning out a delicious ice cream.
Hillside farms two types of dairy cows: Jersey and Holstein.
Jersey cows are light brown in color with a black nose and white muzzle. They originate from the island of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy, France. Smaller in size than other cows, they have a calm temperament and are easy to work with.
Holstein cows are instantly recognizable by their black and white coloring. The breed dates back nearly 2,000 years and originates from Europe. Holsteins are also friendly in demeanor and weigh in as the largest dairy cow at an average 1,500 lbs.
While both breeds produce delicious milk, Food Science helps us determine which dairy is best to use for different recipes. Richer in protein and butter fat, the milk of the Jersey cow is a better choice for ice cream. The Jersey cows at Hillside are award-winning and comprise the majority of their milking herd. Moooove over, Holstein! (Nailed it.)
With fresh bottles of Jersey milk in hand, we headed home to whip up a batch of frozen fun. After finally deciding on a flavor (vanilla peanut butter cup!) we assembled the necessary ingredients and got cooking! (Pun totally intended.)
To concoct our sweet treat, we used a creamy base of Jersey milk, half and half, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Next came the ice, lots and lots of salt, which lowers the freezing point of the ice, and our trusty White Mountain electric ice cream maker. (For those looking to buff their biceps, use a manual machine.)
The result? A scrumptious scoop of homemade heaven…the perfect compliment to our patriotic pie!
So, the next time you’re craving a creamy treat, try to find a dairy farm with Jersey cows. Better yet, take a trip to Hillside, try a scoop for yourself and get a pint to go! Just don’t come here…because we will have eaten it all.
Bonus Food Science Tip: Don’t have an ice cream maker? Try this fun experiment where all you need is a plastic bag!